Wednesday, 6 March 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: March 6, 1988

What's this? The ARIA chart recap on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday? Well, since 1988 was a leap year but 2013 isn't, we move forward one day to stay in line with the dates on the original charts. So, we'll be looking back 25 years in time on a Wednesday each week from now on.

David Lee Roth climbed charts and cliff faces in 1988

This week in 1988, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes stayed put at number 1 for a fifth week with their Dirty Dancing smash, and it was joined in the top 50 by another song from the soundtrack, which was in the middle of what would be an eight-week run at the top of the albums chart.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 6, 1988

Also, as I previewed last time, two artists who'd started out singing in well-known American bands of the '80s scored solo hits. What I didn't mention last time is that a third act to join the top 50 this week was originally lead singer for an Amercian band in the early '70s. Before we get to all of them, we'll remember a song that Australians had been singing for almost a century by 1988.

Single Of The Week
"Matilda" by Noel Watson
Peak: number 54
1988 was the year of Australia's bicentenary, celebrated on Australia Day (January 26) to mark 200 years since the arrival of the First Fleet. A massive live TV special, Australia Live: The Celebration Of A Nation, aired on three networks and made use of our very first satellite (which even had its own nifty name: Aussat) to whiz around the country. One of the musical acts featured was this guy, who performed his take on "Waltzing Matilda" in a John Williamson kind of style. Seems like patriotic spirit only goes so far on the ARIA chart. Nevertheless, Noel would be wheeled out to sing the song again at that year's AFL grand final (and it's that performance which is below).

"King Of Moomba" by Do-Re-Mi
Peak: number 52
From one celebration to another - this time, Melbourne's annual Moomba festival which, in an amazing bit of synchronicity, takes place at the start of March (2013's event starts this Friday). Traditionally, a king and queen of Moomba had been crowned each year - although in 1988, in a not so great bit of synchronicity, that title was changed to the Moomba Monarch. Unfortunately for Do-Re-Mi, their enthusiasm about the event wasn't shared by the rest of the country, with a national chart peak outside the top 50. 

New Entries
Number 50 "Bury Me Deep In Love" by The Triffids
Peak: number 48
I've mentioned in the past that many Aussie classics (like "Throw Your Arms Around Me" and "Sounds Of Then (This Is Australia)") weren't actually very big hits - and here's another acclaimed song that failed to make a commercial impact. The Triffids had been around since the late '70s but this was their first top 50 appearance after reaching number 64 with 1986's "Wide Open Road". "Bury Me Deep In Love" would be used later in 1988 as the theme to Harold and Madge's wedding in Neighbours, and even received a re-release in 1989 in the UK when the episode finally aired there - but it would be no "Suddenly". The Triffids managed one more album in 1989 before calling it a day.

Number 48 "Don't Tell Me The Time" by Martha Davis
Peak: number 8
Here's our first solo single from a former lead singer. Martha had been frontwoman for The Motels until their split in 1987 and wasted no time releasing her solo album, Policy. This first single was a big hit in Australia, but it didn't fare anywhere near as well back home in the US. As a result, Martha wriggled out of her record deal and didn't release a follow-up album until 2004.

Number 35 "Hungry Eyes" by Eric Carmen
Peak: number 4
In the first half of the '70s, big-haired Eric had been vocalist for The Raspberries, whose best showing in Australia had been the 1972 single, "Go All The Way" - a number 14 hit. He's best known for his solo records, though - and he hit it out of the park with his first solo single, "All By Myself", which reached number 7 in Australia. Eric failed to capitalise on that early success here and it wasn't until this Dirty Dancing soundtrack smash that he returned to the Australian top 10. Admittedly, he had taken most of the first half of the '80s off, but 1988 would prove to be a very fruitful year for him...

Number 32 "Just Like Paradise" by David Lee Roth
Peak: number 14
Rounding out our former lead singer triple play is this rock classic from the sometimes Van Halen frontman (he'd split from the band a couple of years earlier and wouldn't formally reunite with them for two decades). "Just Like Paradise" was from DLR's second full-length solo album, Skyscraper, and saw him return to the Australian top 20. He'd previously scored hits with his 1985 cover versions, "California Girls" and "Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody", but Australia had largely been indifferent to his 1986 LP, Eat 'Em And Smile. Most recently, "Just Like Paradise" was heard kicking off the first act of stage show (and film adaptation) Rock Of Ages in a mash-up with Poison's "Nothin' But A Good Time".

Next Wednesday, we'll remember six new entries, including a big novelty rap hit and a couple of often overlooked tracks by two great Aussie bands. Meanwhile, I'm aiming to start my countdown of my favourite songs from 1992 in the next couple of weeks - if I get organised in time, I'll kick things off this weekend.

Back to: Feb 28, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 13, 1988

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